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In this guide, you'll find selected resources for health statistics and government information. What do these resources have in common? They're all freely available on the internet, no subscription required.
General suggestions for finding government information
1. Try the "agency approach." Who produces the information you need? How is this information organized and disseminated? If you can answer these questions, you can create a much more targeted, focused search.
2. Google like a pro. To limit your Google search to government websites, use the very powerful "site:" search. You can search all .gov websites (site:gov) or narrow your search to a particular agency's website (site:cdc.gov).
Useful as a portal to up-to-date licensing and regulatory information.
Public resources for health data
These resources are meant as starting points for your research. Keep in mind that statistics at the neighborhood level are not available consistently across the entire United States, and that some datasets and statistical publications may not be produced on an annual basis. If you aren't finding what you need with these databases, a good next step is to find out if there's a local government agency that compiles this data, and either use the agency's online tools or publications, or contact the agency directly to find out if they will make their data available to you.
An online tool from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute that aggregates data on health outcomes (morbidity, mortality) and health factors (behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, physical environment).
KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the well-being of children in the United States. Search data by state (including community-level data) or data across states.
The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood-level information systems in local policy-making and community building. The NNIP site is a good portal to data sources on demographics, education, health, and more.
Data.census.gov is a platform to access data and digital content from the U.S. Census Bureau. It combines several previous census tools like American Fact Finder, Census Business Builder, DataFerret and Current Population Survey. Contains data beginning in 2010.
Two major resources for U.S. government information
FDsys, the Federal Digital System from the Government Printing Office (GPO), provides online access to official publications from all three branches of the U.S. federal government, including the federal budget, congressional documents, the U.S. Code, and more. Coverage will vary by collection, but many publications are available in full text back to the 1990s.
Unofficial XML-based prototype of the daily Federal Register, organized and displayed in an easier to read format. Includes web tools and user aids designed to make it easier to understand and participate in the regulatory process.
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations. It also includes executive orders and other presidential documents.
Sign up for an account to build your own search to see a short summary of results, and then click to see the full bill text, action history, voting records, plus sponsors and detailed contact information for all legislators. Additional tools available at cost.